Monday, 30 June 2008

Good news!

It's Monday, 30 June.

My last day as Acting Head. (pause for cheers)

As of this morning, the only thing that still hurts from my massage is my left extensor retinaculum, and probably only because I've been poking at it. (pause for cheers)

Tomorrow is a holiday, in Canada--known as "Canada Day". I plan to spend it lying in a hammock and reading a qualifying paper revision. Yes, I'm finally getting to it, Charles. Sorry for the delay, but as of tomorrow, I won't be acting head anymore and I'll have 'lots' of time....

Things are good.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Paying good money to be bruised and battered

I should be cleaning my office, but instead I'm sitting here wondering whether I'm good sore or bad sore. I went to a new massage guy yesterday.

He says he likes to work at a level of 'good pain'. So there was nothing unbearable, but there were some moments where I felt challenged. So I guess that's a good thing.

But this morning, I feel like I have bruises in some interesting places: along the sides of the back of my neck, approaching my nuchal line but mostly along the edges of my traps/scapula elevators. Around the along my lower back/ileac crest area, where I know I'm very tight (and there was some serious work there yseterday. Not, interestingly enough, along my, um, gluteal region, which I do not think of as stiff or a site where I carry stress, but as he was elbowing me around the back of my ileum and hip joint he assured me I was very tight. Which is where I remember experienced the most pain, but apparently my butt was able to absorb it.

Shut up.

And not, interestingly, along my forearms, which I remember specifically reading in the Trail Guide to the Body there's some muscle that you can only really get at along the same space where the radial artery runs, and you don't want to be screwing around with your radial artery. Or at least I didn't want to. This guy didn't seem to have a problem.

So he's definitely identified some places where I'm unusually tight. "Gummy", is the word he use. And it would be worth going back to work on these things. On the other hand, I'm sore today, and I'm not sure I'm really anxious to put myself through that again. At least until I stop feeling like I've been in a car accident. So I'm now considering what sort of schedule I think I'd like to do this on. I used to do relaxation massage every 4-6 weeks, and thought of it as a luxury. This seems to be therapeutic massage, and unless I get seriously endorphined up, I'm not sure I want to experience this on a weekly basis. But obviously if we're going to 'work' on my 'gumminess', 4-6 weeks ain't gonna cut it. Maybe I'll schedule several more over the summer and see how it goes. Hmm.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Ah, the bliss of fake banana flavo(u)r

This post died somewhere in transit. It wasn't long. It was just about a banana milkshake I got at a drive-in. It was Bliss, but the moment is now over.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Fake Canadian bowling

Or rather, a common form of bowling unfamiliar to me, and thus dubbed fake.

Where I grew up, the only kind of bowling anyone did was 10-pin bowling. The kind with big huge heavy black balls with three holes drilled in them. The kind that little kids can't do well because the ball is so big and heavy. The kind that dilettantes like me end up dislocating shoulders or elbows trying to play. The only kind you used to see on American television. The kind with leagues.

Well, in addition to lawn bowling and bocce ball and related pastimes, there is another kind of bowling. 5-pin bowling. Since coming to Canada, I have seen this kind of bowling on TV, usually with pins that are on strings for some reason, but I don't know how widespread it is generally. It seems to be practically the only kind of bowling people in Winnipeg have ever heard of, let alone done more than once in their lives. It seems to be common enough up here, by which I mean in Canada generally, although I'm told is typical also in Vermont or someplace like that.

The ball is about 2 pounds, and the size of a softball--just big and heavy enough to not quite hold easily in one hand while swinging the arm, but easily tossed and bowled and whatnot. The lane is a little shorter, and possibly a little narrower.

There are only five pins, arranged in a chevron, i.e. a triangle with a head pin (the 1, in 10 pin), and two side pins going back on either side, (i.e the 2, and 3 pins, and the 4 and 7 pins, in 10-pin). They're a little smaller than 10-pin pins, and have these funny rings or something around their 'belts'. Still there's room in between them that you could roll the ball between them at the right angle. It makes hitting them a little odd, and the spacing makes it, well, not more difficult, but a different proposition to knock them all down at once. It's exceptionally difficult, for instance, to handle a 'split', since there isn't enough force to bounce pins from one side all the way to tthe other side.

Scoring is different too. The head pin is worth five. The two 'middle' pins are worth 3 each, and the two 'side' pins are worth 2, for a max of 15 points available per frame, which involves three throws, or bowls, or whatever you call them. A strike is getting them all down on the first bowl. A spare is getting them all down in the first two (whether that's any combination or 0-5). If it takes all three bowls to get all five, it's just 15.

Last night, I went Bingo Bowling with the Fringe Team Leader Group (more on that another time). Bingo Bowling is different from regular bowling in that instead of keeping score in the conventional manner (so I"m not sure how conventional 5-pin scoring of strikes and spares works), you work against another (team(s)) to fill out a 'card' of possible combinations. SO many 5s, so many 10s, strikes, spares, 2s, and odder combinations like 'the headpin', which is just the headpin, on the first bowl, a frame score of 13, which means leaving only a 2, or almost impossible combinations like 12, which means leaving only a 3, or 8, which means taking out only the headpin and a 3. YOu fill out your card and you win.

So there's the race aspect--you want to fill out your card before your opponents, and there's the strategy aspect--if you knock over a 2 on your first bowl, do you take the 2 on the card, or try for the 4/7/10? Do we need a spare or a 15? And so on.

It was a lot of fun. More fun than I expected. And I was a little better at it than I expected. I threw my share of gutter balls, true, but also made my share of strikes and spares, and other combinations. I did not dislocate anything, although my left quad muscles are very sore today. It did not take me long to realize that the long run-up, like in 10-pin, is not necessary, nor even desirable, and it's easier to stand there and just take one step forward and bowl the ball. Even though I heard my father's voice screaming at me to 'follow through' and so forth, I managed to figure out how to make minor adjustments that allowed me a degree of actual control of the ball.

So I wouldn't mind going again sometime. Maybe I've discovered a new activity. Just saying.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

So I've been lying low

Mostly because I've been so tired. What is it about a vacation that you need three days to recover. I blame the hot afternoons, which were good for sleeping through, requiring you to stay up half the night carousing.

So, I got back from TO on Tuesday, and awaiting me was an invitation to my nephew David's wedding. Now, I knew he was getting married. He and his fiancée announced their plans at least a year ago. They also announced that they were paying for it themselves, so it was going to be kept small, and that not everyone would necessarily be invited. But now I'm invited. So among the other things I've managed to accomplish this week is find a seat-sale flight to and from YVR (Vancouver, BC), and an expensive (by my standards) hotel room in an all-suites hotel about 30 minutes (on a good traffic day) north of the city. Now I have to arrange a car, but that shouldn't be hard. And the suite will be nice for getting some work done, and to provide a home base for my junk and visits with people and family.

That came out wrong.

But anyway, that's the deal. This week, I have a couple of classes, a meeting off campus, a dentist appointment, and a Fringe thing on Tuesday. The Team Leader's Facebook group is going 'Bingo Bowling', whatever that is. They do 5-pin bowling in Manitoba, which I've never done, so it'll be a sharp learning curve, but at least it will be an evening of socializing.

Now I need to go to bed and get some sleep. I'm almost back on a normal schedule. Which is not to say I feel 'rested' in the mornings, but at least I'm not staying up until 3 am just cuz.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Farewell, GTA. Greetings, 'Peg.

Well, this is my last morning on my vaca. Had a nice time. Am very relaxed, but of course am now horribly sleep deprived. Expecting coffee to be a big part of my day. I've packed away the contact lenses (dry out on airplanes, so I'm in my glasses all day), and am just finishing my morning bagel. Trying to decide how to handle the rest of the morning and early afternoon. There's one more restaurant I want to go to, but it's sort of on the way to the subway station, so I'm not sure if I should take the luggage with me or come back for it. Oh, if this were my biggest problem on most days.

But I'll survive. Should get home in the early evening. Will dash across the street for something for dindins and then probably head to bed early, so as to be somewhat recovered for tomorrow. When, among other things, I'll face the bills.


PS Oh, good news, it's cooler this morning (21C) and it should be 17C when I hit the ground in Winnipeg, so I don't think there will be quite the temperature shock there might have been. Yay.

Monday, 9 June 2008

The problem with traveling

I was mostly unprepared for the unseasonably warm and humid weather in Toronto--I spent the first couple of days trying to find tank tops and alternate shorts and suchlike. Back home, it hasn't quite warmed up enough to break out the shorts yet, at least it hadn't when before I'd left.

So I've spent a week almost getting used to hot and humid. Tomorrow is going to be interesting. I'm going to spend most of the morning in the hot and humid, unless it's still thunderstorming, which is currently predicted at 60%. Then I'm going to spend a big chunk of the afternoon traveling to or wasting time in the airport, since I like to check in in plenty of time to find some crossword puzzles and have some coffee and whatnot before my flight. It'll take between 1 and 1-1/2 hours to get to the airport depending on the subway, the bus, and the weather. So if my flight is at 4:45, I should be there around 3 which means I should leave about 1:30pm. I'm supposed to check out of the B&B by 11:30, but I can stash my luggage at least for a couple of hours. But if I stick around the village for lunch, I'll probably end up doing some last minute shopping, and I think I've done enough to support the economy for this trip. That and my suitcase which was comfortably loosely packed when I got here is starting to feel stuffed up.

But back to the problem. Once I'm in the airport, I'm assuming I'll be in relative air conditioning, but I'll still be hot and gross. And I'm always too warm when other people are getting chilly anyway. So maybe I should just travel in a t-shirt and shorts (which means putting the shoe-shoes in my suitcase and wearing my sandals, which I'm okay with, except for the suitcase stuffing issue). But it'll be coolish and probably raining in Winnipeg, which means I should probably be wearing real shoes, if not actual pants there. I've been known to change clothes in public washrooms, but I'm not sure I've ever done so in an airport. Certainly not in my home-town airport, on the way home.

So I'm sitting here, wondering if I should go out for some night-on-the-town action, and thinking about what I should pack and what I should wear and what I should be sure to leave on top of the suitcase in case I need to get to it in a hurry in a fairly confined space.

I bet real people never worry about this sort of thing. And this is me on medication.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

How to spend a lazy Sunday morning

or, things I gotta remember when I get home.

Have had a bagel and some yogurt for brekkies. Got no plans until at least early afternoon. Thinking this would be a good time to lie in bed listening to "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" over the internet. Aaaah.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Random MySpace video

Stumbled across this in my wanderings.
2 Guys, 1 Flute

Apparently, I picked a good time to leave Winnipeg

Apparently, it's been raining heavily back home, while I'm basking in the heat. I hope I closed my windows.

So yesterday wasn't so bad, heat and humidity-wise. The trick is to a) retired to your cool (almost cold) basement room and b) sleep through the hottest part of the day. Unfortunately, this leaves you wandering the streets until about 3am looking for fun. Luckily, this being an actual city, you don't have that much trouble finding some.

But back home, things are soggy. Apparently, this has resulted in bad news for the peregrine falcon chicks and aficionados thereof.

Am still sleepy, and achy all over. I did manage to pick up some peppermint foot lotion from The Body Shop, so maybe I'll have a quiet morning and spend some quality foot time. For the record, I also made it to IKEA, and now have those spice grinders I've been looking for. Yay consumerism!

Friday, 6 June 2008

21C and counting

Having breakfast, and anticipating a steamy, sweaty day. And not in a good way.

If it remains bearable, I might go to IKEA anyway. I really need my spice grinders.

But elsewise I'm not sure what the day holds. Or the night, if it comes to that. But in between times, I'm really hoping for air conditioning. And maybe a nap.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

'Tis been a day

Broke fast in B&B style. Went out to pick up the pants I bought yesterday but left to have hemmed. Also picked up a tank top and some underwear that's a little lighter than that which I brought with me, owing to the fact that tomorrow, or so they say, is going to hit 31C, with a humidex (which is the Canadian version of the heat index, but less useful because the number doesn't actual mean anything) above 40. So tomorrow will be spent probably not going to IKEA, in my swim trunks and probably a wet (either by design or by biological function rendered useless by the humidex) tank top, which if I'm lucky I'll get to at least rinse out tonight.

But back to today. I went to the Royal Ontario Museum, which as museums go was not quite as overrun with schoolchildren as it might have been. Wandered through most of the galleries, which just went on and on and on. The Darwin exhibit (The Evolution Revolution) was great. As were the prehistoric mammals. The dinosaurs could use some work, but then that's the nature of dinosaurs. It was sort of fun wandering through the bird exhibit with a small child running around (in the care of a tired but game looking mother) shouting "'N oiseau! 'N oiseau!" at every bird in the place. I tried to get him interested in the 'oiseaux tres grands' but I don't think the ostrich and the emu qualified as birds for the little guy. I almost stopped and col(u)red with a couple of museum wonks who clearly had had enough of the endless tykage for a while, but by then I was tired and just wanted to be done. If I'd stopped I'd probably still not have gotten back up.

V. tired feet now. And me without my peppermint foot spray.

I just got back to the B&B (about 5pm), and was preparing to go back out in search of dinner, but just a moment ago, there was a huge clap of thunder and now it's raining. Not like it was raining this morning, which was barely sprinkling, but in that Canadians tend to overreact to a little rain everyone's dander was up. But now it's actually raining. Like wet and splashy. So maybe I'll just dash across the street for some curry rather than go several blocks up and over in search of that chicken burrito I've been craving since walking past the place yesterday. But it's three or four further blocks in the rain, and Robby ain't that fond of rain. Any more than he's fond of humidity, I guess.

So I'm hanging out, hoping the rain stops before about 6pm, when I really, really need to go get some food.

And then it'll be an early night because a) I'm tired, and b) my feet hurt and c) it's going to thunderstorm all night. And tomorrow's gonna be brutal unless I can find a nice air-conditioned place to hang out without spending a lot of money. Maybe I'll just install myself at the curry place for the day. They must have AC.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Video game update

I'm in Toronto, about to take a nap, in preparation for my first night of debau--er, um, diversion. In case you're wondering, no you won't hear about it, since this is a Family Blog. But as long as I was logged in (ya gotta love wireless internet service), I thought I would log my thoughts from the other night, having 'finished' Super Mario Galaxy.

First 'finished' isn't actually true. I rescued Princess Toadstool (again called 'Peach' but she'll always be Princess Toadstool to me) from the clutches of Bowser and Bowser Jr (who remains as annoying and whiny as ever, but I guess that's the little guy's charm). But the game consists, as previous versions of the franchise, in/of collecting stars by completing various challenging stages in any of a number of themed worlds. In Super Mario 64, you jumped through paintings in Castle Toadstool and were presented with any of several variations on the theme to win your star. In Super Mario Sunshine, you traveled to different cities/sites on the Pianta resort world, and did the same, although as I recall, the stars were called something different.

Anyway, in Super Mario Galaxy, you use various observation domes on a ship/comet/observatory, to travel to different 'galaxies', by which they seem to mean planetoids (each with several versions) in a system accessible from one of the domes. In addition to the jumping and spinning and bonus flowers and mushrooms (some quite, let's say, new), you collect power stars to rebuild the energies of the observatory/comet/ship thing, and after 60 power stars you have enough energy to travel to the "center of the Universe", which is where Bowser has Peach.

Okay, so the game is fascinating. Most stages are challenging without being maddeningly finicky. The different galaxies are a hoot. The hidden and bonus stars (some just 'hidden' alternative paths in other stages, others 'available' when some kind of interesting 'comet' appears in the relevant galaxy/system (some comets speed up the monsters, some introduce new stages, and so on).

So you need to recover at least 60 power stars to get to the final boss battle with Bowser and rescue the Princess. I've got to say, I was a little disappointed by the final battle. You meet Bowser in a few previous stages, and the final boss battle, while more or less being three times as long, isn't really any harder, or involve any new strategies or attacks, than the previous one. Don't get me wrong, it took me several (actually many) lives to get through it, but it wasn't very interesting, compared to previous final battles.

On the other hand, there's nothing actually 'final' about the final boss battle. There are at least 120 power stars available, between the various stages, comet variants, and hidden stars (and I'm told that at some point you unlock the Luigi character who is slower, but jumps higher (as in previous games) and you can then go for all 120 stars again as Luigi. And then something else unlocks, I think a 121st star.

So we'll see if I have the patience. I've never, ever, before collected all the stars in a Mario game. And having lived through most of the stages once, I'm content to leave the thing fallow for a week while I'm 'vacationing' here in Toronto. We'll see if I go through any withdrawal in the meantime.

Okay, zzzs call, then off to experience some vacation.